#Modo8k Race Report

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Today was a chance to put my “run-a-long-run-the-day-before-a-race-and-get-a-PB” philosophy to work. Again. But I really shouldn’t start there…

Back in November, I signed up for the Canada Running Series (www.canadarunningseries.com) Combo Pack, including:

  • Spring Run-Off Vancouver 8k (a.k.a the Modo 8k)
  • Scotiabank Half Marathon
  • Eastside 10K

As I’m all about the earlybird and combo discounts, I took the plunge and committed to these three races. That was before I had decided to run my first marathon this year (but – and I promise – I’ll tell that story later). And the first of those races, the Modo 8k, was held on Sunday, March 23.

Spring Run-Off

Modo – Title Sponsor

I’m a long-time Modo member. For those of you who don’t know or aren’t local, Modo is a local car-share here in Vancouver – one of the reasons I don’t need to own a car! When I heard that Modo was sponsoring this year’s race, I was even happier I had signed up.

From early on, the social media about the Modo 8K was top-notch. There were regular Facebook and Twitter campaigns and updates, and even an Instagram contest. #modo8k became one of my trending topics. Back in February, on a snowy Sunday morning, Modo even sponsored a course preview, complete with coffee and brownies. And finally, there was ‘Team Modo’ – a group of Modo members running the race.

This race also has an emotional component to it. Last year at this time, my Mom had just been diagnosed with cancer. The morning of the 2013 run, I remember calling her at the hospital while I was standing under a big Stanley Park tree. She was already feeling weak and wasn’t able to say much. My Dad was there with her, and I told him to tell her that I was running the race for her. She left us a month later.

Race Day – Modo 8k

So, I woke to this day with mixed emotions. But the morning dawned sunny and chilly, and brought about the age-old conundrum of ‘what to wear?’ In the end, I opted to dress fairly light and bring along a bag to check-in, giving myself a few extra options. Since parking in Stanley Park is at a premium, I snagged a car2go (another local car-share) and zipped down near Lost Lagoon.

Arriving at the Stanley Park Pavilion just after 9am, things were already in full swing. Booths getting set up, bag check operating. I headed to the ‘Solutions’ table, where I was able to get my age updated (it was only a year off) along with a new start corral. I was told that the corrals were ‘soft’, but I was aiming to get close to my 2013 time, so I wanted to be close to the front of the pack. Quick, efficient customer service from one of the many awesome volunteers!

Per instructions, Team Modo gathered near the Modo booth at 9:30am to do a quick warm-up run. Because the last 1km of the course is mostly uphill, reminding ourselves what was in store seemed like a good idea. We did a bit of dynamic stretching, and then ran out about 500m, and back along the last leg of the course. Oh yes, there IS a hill – it doesn’t look steep, but looks can definitely be deceiving!

Modo 8k
Start line countdown

#RunTime

I had shed most of my gear, sticking to a cap, t-shirt, arm warmers, gloves (which I discarded around km 6), and shorts. I lined up about 2 metres back from the starting ribbon, and then the elite runners gathered in front. I wasn’t feeling the confidence about this race that I felt last year. In 2013, I managed a sub-40 PB, which surprised and delighted me. This year – well…as part of my marathon training, our Saturday workout involved:

  • a 3km warm-up jog
  • a 9km tempo workout (3 loops near Jericho Beach – 1.5km at 10k pace; 1.5km at half marathon pace)
  • a 13km ‘slow’ run (we ended up doing 8km, since everyone was exhausted)

So with 20km from the day before under my belt, I wasn’t sure if my ‘philosophy’ would pay off.

As the run started, I could feel the tiredness in my legs, and was discouraged. Then, at the 1km mark, I had a horrible realization: I had forgotten to change the setting on my Nike+ Running app on my iPhone, the setting that gives me 1km updates letting me know my time and pace. So, although I had music, I was running without my ‘crutch’. How would I know how fast I was going??

The course took us along the east side of Lost Lagoon, around the 2nd Beach pool, and onto the Seawall. One of the biggest ‘distractions’ of this race is that the Seawall isn’t closed to…everyone else. And since the race started at 10am, it was busy. We encountered bikes, rollerbladers, runners (going in the opposite direction), and lots of walkers. I say distraction because, ultimately, no one actually got in the way. We probably got in their way.Route map

At 4km (the halfway point), I heard someone behind me say, “Well, that’s 22 minutes” and I knew I wasn’t going to break the 40-minute mark. Even if I managed a negative split, I just wouldn’t have the energy to make it happen.

But I forged ahead. I was still determined to do the best with what I had. Moments before the 7km mark, where the course turns off the Seawall and south toward the Japanese War Memorial, a runner coming in the opposite direction tried dodging between the racers and some walkers, and nearly took a header right in front of me. Thankfully, he righted himself and went on his way.

The Last Kilometre

It’s amazing how ‘undulating’ feels like ‘hills from hell’ when it’s at the end of a race. My lungs were burning, and the sun was making things hotter than I expected. There was sweat in my eyes. About 500m from the end, a managed a smile for the photographer, who called out a ‘Well done, Bradley!’ I didn’t know him – our bibs had our names – but it gave me a wee burst of energy.

There were lots of volunteers cheering. And the path inclined. There was a corner, more incline, another corner…and then I could hear the announcer calling out names – but I had no idea about the time. Unlike the West Van Run, where you can see the finish line from nearly a kilometre back, this race has a wee curve and you can see your time just seconds before you reach the finish line.

38:18

What? A better time than last year? A whole minute faster than last year? How the heck did that happen?? I can’t even express how happy I am about this!

Modo 8k
Bib & medal!

#Modo8K

Why I loved the Modo 8k:

  • Amazing volunteers
  • A sponsor I know well
  • Great branding – good quality t-shirts, excellent social media presence
  • Finisher medals!
  • Beautiful route, amazing day!

Yes, I still feel a bit of sadness, remembering so vividly what was happening in my life – and the lives of my family – one year ago. But I’m dedicating each success to the memory of someone special, and that makes it all the more meaningful in the end.

11 Comments

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